That means I should write a blog post. Tuesday is blog post day.
Well, weekends are out - I'm usually too busy to write, and everyone's too busy to read. Monday is too "back to work" and Friday is all "weekend's here!" Wednesday is "hump day" and Thursday is "almost Friday!" So, Tuesday.
But yesterday was a holiday, so this feels more like Monday. We had a lovely long weekend. I took Friday off and went to see Star Trek with Lisa. Much fun. We had sushi for lunch and had a nice relaxing time with no kids in tow. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were family days. Hanging out with the kids. Seeing friends. Going to the park. Bailing on plans to go to the beach (sorry, Pete). Putting a bench around our tree in the backyard. Other than a marked shortage of naps for me, it was a wonderful long weekend.
Today the California Supreme Court upheld the ban on same-sex marriage put in place last year by Proposition 8.
I 100% expected this, but it still makes me sad.
I expected it because the court wasn't ruling on the merits of same-sex marriage. They did that already. In spring 2008 when they said it was legal under the state constitution for same-sex couples to marry. So a lot of gay couples got married. Friends of ours. And family. Then some folks with lots of money put an initiative on the ballot last fall and changed the state constitution. So gay marriage was no longer legal. So today the court ruled on whether the process surrounding that ballot initiative was legal, and they said it was, so gay marriage is out. But, since it was legal for a few months, anyone who got married then is still married. Which is nice, I guess. Also, confusing.
This isn't a political blog. It's a parenting blog, basically. Which means it's a family blog. And this is about family. Very close friends and members of my family are gay. Some of them are married. So far this has not caused the destruction of a single straight marriage that I know of. I've seen several marriages fall apart recently. It's terrible to watch friends go through the deconstruction of everything they thought they would be doing for the rest of their lives. It's heartbreaking. And sad. And not one of them blamed gay marriage.
Prop 8 proved what I've believed for a long time: the California ballot initiative process is a disaster. Lawmaking shouldn't be left to the general public. Politicians are far from perfect, but we elect and pay them to do a job: make laws. We give them that authority and responsibility to understand the implications of the laws they make and to do the right thing. They screw it up a lot, but it's their job. It's not our job.
Even if you think we should vote on how to spend money or on taxes or bond measures, civil rights should not be subject to majority rule. The very concept of civil rights hinges on protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority. If left to voter approval, we'd still have racial segregation in certain parts of the country. There are many more persuasive arguments for gay marriage than any I could make. I doubt I'm going to change anyone's mind. Sadly, I'm not sure minds can be changed on this issue. I hope I'm wrong. Everyone should have the right to marry the person they love. We need our leaders to lead. This shouldn't be about what people think. It's about what's right.
So, I'm disappointed in California, the only place I've ever lived.
But Star Trek was cool. So there's that.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I saw two performances yesterday that were as far apart as they could possibly be in almost every way.
Then last night I watched the almost-but-not-quite season finale of American Idol. It was horrible. Mr. Lady summed up many of the ways it was horrible quite well in this MamaPop review, so I won't rehash all of that. I just want to explain how seeing these two things in one day made my head hurt and my heart ache, not necessarily in that order. It was everything that's amazing and wonderful about music held up against everything that's wrong with the music industry.
First, why is there music? I think because of how it makes us feel. Good, bad, happy, sad, excited, scared. Music triggers emotions. It's both personal and communal. You can experience music alone, and it can be fantastic, and then there's this other thing that happens when you're part of a group hearing the same piece of music together. It can transcend the individual experience. It's not always better, but it definitely has the capacity to be more, certainly different.
Watching Owen and his schoolmates perform was the second thing - the community experience, and it rocked. We were all there living in this amazing moment of musical expression and togetherness. The music was all right, but the connection between the performers (our kids) and the audience (we parents) was powerful. It felt really good. We were happy to see our kids up there, and nervous for them to do well and have fun and not be freaked out, and overwhelmed by how they're growing up and what it all means and we're all feeling all this together. And it was awe inspiring. It inspired awe.
Then there was American Idol. This thing costs millions of dollars. It's tarted up like a showgirl in Vegas, and many millions of people are watching it on TV. It's down to two guys after months of basically weekly auditions, watching their fellow performers fall one by one around them. And they're up there jumping through vocal hoops yet again for the judges and the audience and the cameras. And then they bring out a quasi-established guest "star" and she sings some crappy song as a "big finish" and you know what? It sucked. Not them, really. They're ok. Pretty good, to be fair. They can sing, each has his thing, and they've clearly been working their asses off and they're basically pretty good. But what they're doing up there is the exact opposite of what music should be. It's all showing off and trying to create a personna and nailing some kind of style. It isn't about communicating. It isn't about sharing. It's purely commercial. It's sales. It's which of these guys will sell more songs/albums/tickets/t-shirts/action figures. That might not be what it's about for all the people watching, exactly, but that's what's it's actually about.
And I think about Owen up there creating this amazing experience for a few people in a room through music. And I think that is what music is really for. And I struggle to work out how to fold music into my sons' lives in a way that makes them cherish that. The community, the feelings, the making of music. While rejecting the artifice and glitz and bullshit that is American Idol.
As I listened to "No Boundaries," I longed for "Goodbye Now and Thank You."
Edit: I just realized this is my 10th post on this blog. Hurray for round numbers! Now, let's see if this one goes to 11.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Owen loves taking pictures. Lately he loves taking pictures with my phone. We bought a new digital camera recently and offered Owen our perfectly good but somewhat older one. He wants nothing to do with it. He wants my phone. Of course, when not being used as a camera, my phone also doubles as a lightsaber, so can you blame him really?
Here are a few of the shots Owen took this weekend.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Just a quick post to share some video of Nicholas' early bipedal adventures. This video is from yesterday and I swear as of today he's talking twice as far. He has on fear, which is very different from Owen at that age, who was very cautious.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
A friend (who is currently childless, incidentally) sent me this link: Stop worrying about your children! Maybe she thinks I worry too much? It's an article on Salon.com by Katharine Mieszkowski, profiling Lenore Skenazy. Here's the summary:
Kids today are just as safe as they were in the '70s, says "Free-Range Kids" author Lenore Skenazy, and what's really distressing is an alarmist culture that refuses to let them grow up.I tweeted this link (that's twitterspeak. if confused, see this post) and set off a really active and passionate discussion about how best to keep our kids safe.
Edit: After I posted this last night I spotted this story about a mom in New York who spent the night in jail after dropping her kids on the side of the road for misbehaving in the car. It reminds me that in addition to the moral, ethical, and just general right-minded parenting questions this issue raises, there are also legal issues to consider. Jeez, as if we didn't have enough to worry about!